Laboratorio de Parasitología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas

Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León

Monterrey, México


This report is a preliminary survey of parasites of selected vertebrates of the Valley of Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México, based on specimens collected in 1973-1974 and 1983. Cichlid fishes (Cichlasoma spp.) are host to four digenetic trematodes, and other fishes (Notropis xanthicara, Cyprinodon bifasciatus, Gambusia marshi, Etheostoma sp.) host dactilogyrid monogenean trematodes, nematodes, and a piscicolid annelid. A lizard, Sceloporus merriami, hosts acanthocephalan larvae, and the aquatic box turtle, Terrapene coahuila, hosts digenetic and monogenetic trematodes and nematodes. Two species of digenetic trematodes infest leopard frog, Rana cf. pipiens. An endemic snail, Mexithauma quadripaludium, is intermediate host for digenetic trematodes.


Se presenta un estudio preliminar de parásitos de vertebrates seleccionados del valle de Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México. El estudio está basado en especímenes colectados durante 1973-1974 y 1983. Los peces cíclidos, (Cichlasoma spp.) son huéspedes de cuatro tremátodos digéneos y otros peces (Notropis xanthicara, Cyprinodon bifasciatus, Gambusia marshi, Etheostoma sp.) son huéspedes de tremátodos dactilogyridos monogéneos, nemátodos y un anélido piscicólido. El lagarto, Sceloporus merriami, hospeda larvas acantocéfalas y la tortuga acuática, Terrapene coahuila, hospeda tremátodos digéneos y monogéneos y nemátodos. Dos especies de tremátodos digéneos infestan a la rana leopardo, Rana cf. pipiens. Un caracol endémico, Mexithauma quadripaludium, es huésped intermediario de tremátodos digéneos.

INTRODUCTION AND METHODS.-The Valley of Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México, is an area of high endemism. The fauna includes, among others, unique species of plants, fishes, snails, turtles, and scorpions. Three endemic, cryptic, and sympatric species of Cichlasoma (Pisces) are differentiated by pharyngeal teeth and diet: viz., molluscivorous, detritivorous, or piscivorous (Taylor and Minckley 1966; Minckley 1969, 1978, and this symposium). A fourth endemic cichlid also is piscivorous (LaBounty 1974). Kornfield and Taylor (1983) described these cichlids as a polymorphic species, C. minckleyi. Taylor (1966) described 18 species of gastropod molluscs from Cuatro Ciénegas (12 endemic), representing 3 endemic subfamilies, 2 endemic genera, and 6 species also found outside the valley (see also Hershler, this symposium, for a different interpretation of the molluscs).

Gastropod endemism and cichlid speciation provide an unique opportunity to study relationships among fish species, their diets, and digenetic trematode parasites. To this end, 62 cichlid specimens including all three diet types were collected from April 1973 to March 1974, dissected, and examined internally.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION.-A total of 499 digenetic trematodes (Table 1) represented four species: a hemiurid, Quadripaludis luistoddi (Jiménez et al. 1981); an undescribed haploporid, Saccocoelioides sp.; a lepocreadid, Crassicutis bravoae (Jiménez and Caballero 1974); and metacercariae of a microphalid, Maritreminoides sp. Stomach contents of fish of all three diet types invariably included small crustaceans, insects, and detritus in addition to primary food items. Use of these other foods may be due to opportunism, chance, or ecological stress. There was no parasite specificity for a particular host, although distributional differences were detected. Fishes from Poza la Becerra contained only Q. luistoddi and Saccocoelioides sp., the latter from a large number of host individuals. In contrast, fishes in Río Mezquites hosts all four trematode species, with C. bravoae most frequent. Differences in presence, frequency of occurrence, and level of infestation of trematodes in fishes from the two habitats were probably due to differences in water chemistry and/or water temperatures, factors which could affect both parasites and intermediate hosts.

Further studies were conducted early in 1983 and included examination of parasites from amphibians, reptiles, and birds, as well as fishes (Table 1). Dactylogyrid monogenean trematodes were collected from Cichlasoma spp. and Etheostoma sp.; encysted and intestinal nematodes were in Gambusia marshi, Etheostoma sp., and Cyprinodon bifasciatus, and a piscicolid leech was hosted by Notropis xanthicara.

A lizard, Sceloporus merriami, had acanthocephalan larvae beneath the skin. The aquatic box turtle, Terrapene coahuila, hosted the monogene Polystomoides sp. in the pharyngeal region, the digene Telorchis sp. in the intestine, and two species of oxyuroids, one each in the intestine and stomach.

Leopard frog, Rana cf. pipiens, contained two intestinal lecithodendrid digenetic trematodes, Pleurogenoides and Limatulum (?) sp.

Of two potential intermediate molluscan hosts examined, Nymphophilus minckleyi and Mexithauma quadripaludium (Taylor 1966; see also Hershler, this symposium) from Río Mezquites, only the latter yielded digenetic trematode cercariae.


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MINCKLEY, W. L. 1978. Endemic fishes of the Cuatro Ciénegas basin, Coahuila, México. In R. H. Wauer and D. Riskind (eds.). Trans. Symp. Biol. Res. Chih. Des. Reg. U.S. and México, pp. 383-404. U.S. Nat. Park Serv. Proc. Trans. Ser. 3 (1977).

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